As we continued our drive down the craggy coastline toward the end of the world the roads became more narrow and twisty. The pace was fast, as well. I couldn’t help but be a little nervous every time a camper or truck would appear in the distance – forcing both vehicles to pull as far as we could to either side of the road so that we would both have room to continue. It was always a relief when we would get to a tunnel or bridge because the road would typically be at least wide enough to have a painted line down the middle. We couldn’t help but recall how much safer we felt riding bikes on the Norwegian roads where the acceptable margin for error is significantly higher – you can always stop and pull over when there is not enough room.
Bree: We passed through tiny fishing villages with red houses built out on stilts over the water. Boats floated along the waterfronts and enormous drying racks filled every town. In spring, these racks are full of millions of pounds of drying cod, the main source of industry here. This late in the season, nothing remained except the terrifying dried fish heads, which are apparently shipped off to Nigeria where they are made into soup. In either event, the giant dried heads stared menacingly at us from just about every shop and restaurant.
Ben: Our final stretch toward A passed through what I deem the most beautiful part of the islands. The mountains began to dwarf the tiny towns that we passed through, and the the bridges and tunnels became more and more frequent. The bridges through one stretch are so narrow that only one lane can pass through at a time. Each side has to wait for a traffic light to get the go ahead to hop between the islands.
Bree: Finally, around four in the afternoon we finally reached the town of A, after nearly three days of serious driving. The journey was of course, far more impressive than the tiny destination, mostly a cluster of houses, a museum and restaurant and plenty of tourists checking out the place.
We took a short walk through town, both dazzled by what we’d seen on our drive and unsure what to do next. We didn’t want to stay in crowded A, so we decided to head back a ways north before finding a place to sleep.
We took a brief side trip on the way to the local tourist information where we accessed our first round of internet in several days. Along with quickly touching base with home and work, we ran a quick search. What is there to do in the Lofoten Islands? We’d decided to come here so impulsively that we didn’t even really know what to expect!
My brief reading informed me of one of the region’s most popular hikes in the area, Reinebringen. The hike covers more than 400 meters of elevation, but very little milage. Essentially, you hike straight up the side of a muddy, rocky mountain, but at the end of an hour, you reach a high ridge with stunning views of the mountains and ocean.
Though it was nearing 7:00 PM, the day had hours and hours of daylight left. Since we were mere minutes from the trailhead, we decided to give it a go tonight.